Sugary dance-pop vocalist Hannah Diamond is one of the first breakthrough artists to come out of the new British label and collective, PC Music, who hope to usher in a new roster of “future-pop” stars. Her debut commercial single “Every Night” has received accolades from Stereogum and Pitchfork. Her previous single “Pink and Blue” placed number five in Fact Magazine’s “100 Best Tracks Of The Decade So Far.”
Championed by Little Steven Van Zandt, The Connection is a Portsmouth, New Hampshire quintet specializing in jangly power-pop and melodic garage rock. Armed with bowl-cuts, Beatle-boots, skinny neckties, Chuck Taylors, Rickenbackers and Telecasters; these guys haven’t just done their homework – they’re living it. The band’s 2013 debut album Let It Rock was named after the Chuck Berry song (covered here). Let It Rock boasts 13 recordings that sound like a more functional version of The Real Kids filtered through an early Byrds inspired discipline.
One of the most interesting facets of modern world music is the intersection of traditional sounds with electric instruments like guitars, organs and drum kits and modern styles like funk, rock and disco. The latest entry in this realm is The Paradise Bangkok Molam International Band, taking a traditional style of Laos and Northern Thailand (Molam) and creating some deeply funky tunes out of them. Trance-inducing melodies on traditional instruments circle around a killer rhythm section for a sound that is reminiscent of an instrumental Dengue Fever or certain Ananda Shankar songs.
Described as a John Hughes soundtrack for Donnie Darko, Wrongchilde (aka Mat Devine, previously of Chicago indie rockers Kill Hannah) delivers a wonderfully woozy, retro-futuristic, electro-pop debut. It’s equal parts moody ‘80s style new wave, brooding minimal synth-pop and glimmering indie electronica – a la The Postal Service or Owl City. Gold Blooded boasts some high profile guests as well, including Gerard Way of My Chemical Romance and Morgan Kibby from M83 (and White Sea), who steals the show on what might be Gold Blooded’s best track, a hauntingly harrowing cover of Pat Benatar’s “Love Is A Battlefield.” This version is all creepy, crawly and darkly synthy – which (maybe not surprisingly) sounds remarkably like Kibby’s other bands!
Christopher Lee – A Heavy Metal Christmas & A Heavy Metal Christmas Too
If you weren’t aware, acclaimed actor Christopher Lee (Hammer’s Dracula films, The Wicker Man, Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings) has parlayed his fine baritone voice and cache as a speculative fiction actor into a musical career, focusing appropriately enough on symphonic metal. After delivering a concept album centered on Charlemagne, Mr. Lee has given us the best Christmas present ever: metal versions of classic holiday songs. “Jingle Hell” earned him a spot on the Billboard Hot 100, which makes him the oldest living artist to enter the charts at 91 years of age!
Funkadelic – First Ya Gotta Shake The Gate
The funk deities deliver 33 new songs for a 33-year wait! The iconic funk band led by George Clinton has just dropped three discs worth of new music; their first since The Electric Spanking of War Babies released in 1981. They continue bringing the funk to present day, fusing their classic P-Funk sound on singles “The Naz” (featuring Sly Stone) and “Ain’t That Funkin’ Kinda Hard On You?” with modern hip-hop (“Creases” featuring Del Tha Funkee Homosapien) and rock (“Dirty Queen”).
Bardo Pond – Bufo Alvarius
Bufo Alvarius is the 1995 debut from psychedelic Philly phreaks Bardo Pond, and is considered by most heads to be their best. It’s a murky maelstrom of tangled guitar buzz and buried rhythmic throb, all wreathed in a gloriously druggy sonic swirl. No sign of actual songs to be found, and even the riffs here are not so much “riffy” as they are oozing and organic. Instead the sound is a loose and lumbering hypno-rock, laced with ethereal female vox and fluttering flute, doused in cascades of crumbling distortion and swirls of spacey reverb. Stooges-like garage psych mesmer fused to impressionistic, dreamlike indie jangle, conjuring up a dense, heart-of-the-sun sonic fug like Loop meets Spacemen 3, but even more lysergic and freeform, with even the most seemingly structured moments eventually (d)evolving into some fantastically far out kraut-psych bliss.
Christmas with a twist! Sit back and relax with a mellow collection of Hawaiian, Reggae and Exotica sounds from artists like Jimmy Buffett, Don Ho, Joe Gibbs and Arthur Lyman. Perfect for your tropical-themed holiday party or luau.